Ahead of the much anticipated release of the Nintendo Switch exclusive Splatoon 2, Nintendo has released the voice chat app for the console on smartphones today. The app is available on Android and iOS devices and is called Nintendo Switch Online App.
This app will be the hub for everything online related for the Switch. If you want to get into groups with friends and chat with them, this app is what you’ll have to do it through. Once you finish the quick install, you’ll see that the app will feature game-specific tabs, such as the one for Splatoon 2. It’s unclear if an option will pop up for ARMS or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but we’d imagine the online-centric titles will have tabs moving forward.
To see your Splatoon 2 stats, you’ll have to link your Nintendo account to the app itself. You will also be able to use the Splatoon 2 hub to buy new clothes for your in-game characters. This will make it easier to do so as you won’t have to fire up your Switch if you want to customize your character.
As you may be aware of, the Nintendo Switch doesn’t feature built-in voice chat so you’ll have to use this app if you want to communicate with friends. We’ll admit that the current way to voice chat is a bit jumbled so we’re hoping a better alternative comes along in the future. Luckily, you should be able to use a bluetooth headset connected to your phone to chat, so you won’t have an over-abundance of cords everywhere if you go that route.
Unfortunately, while using the voice chat feature, your phone screen must remain on for the duration of the chat. This will drain your battery rather quickly so make sure you have your charger on hand. You will also have to remain on the app for the chat to work. This means you won’t be able to multitask and do other things such as text, browse the web or even have notifications on.
The online services for the Nintendo Switch are currently free and were supposed to start charging users later this year, but now that plan has been pushed back into 2018. A yearly subscription to the service will cost $19.99, compared to $59.99 for Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus. Subscribers will also have access to select classic games each month. For more information about the service, you can head here.